By: Lillian Margola
One of the biggest changes in the curriculum at Goucher College which has already started is the formation of the new centers. Each academic department is now under one of eleven umbrella centers. Elisa Koehler is the director of one of the new centers, the Center for Dance, Music, and Theatre. She spoke about some of the changes going on with the three departments, and to discuss the plans for the departments now that they’re together in a group.
“I always say we’re not a center we’re an empire!” Kohler said regarding the nearly 60 part-time and full-time staff that has come together from Dance, Music, and Theatre departments. She is in change of the scheduling, curriculum, and oversight of the center’s faculty. Kohler is also in charge of the budgets for the three departments. Previously, she was the chair of the Music department, and did the same tasks for that department. “It’s sort of like [what I was doing before] times about two hundred,” she said.
The creation of the Center for Music, Dance, and Theatre has had many benefits: everything is more organized. “It centralizes procedures that were far flung and easy to overlook,” said Koehler. The centers also have the ability to share resources among the departments now, so it is less difficult to acquire needed supplies. Faculty and staff from all three departments now have regular meetings to discuss what is going on and to discuss possible collaborations.
Before the Center for Dance, Music and Theatre formed, the three departments did not collaborate much with each other, “but not because we don’t want to,” said Kohler. There are many challenges in terms of getting the correct facilities. There is no centralized location for the dance, music, and theatre departments to work together. The theatre department is located in Meyerhoff Arts Center, the dance department is located in the Sports and Recreation Center (SRC), and the music department is located in multiple buildings throughout campus. There are many dance, music, and theatre productions throughout the year already, so it is hard to find the time to do shows involving multiple departments. There was also lack of communication. But now that there are meetings for the centers, there has been more talk of collaboration.
“Everyone wants to do musical theatre,” Kohler said about some of the collaboration ideas. The problem is finding the space and time to do so. There also is not a place on campus that is designed to produce a musical, though that is being worked on. The Music department has previously taught a class called Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop, which has put on musical productions in the past. That was just the beginning. There are plans to have even more collaboration in the near future; including major productions and new classes that utilize multiple departments.
One of the other tasks that Kohler has as center director is curriculum planning, which is important because the school will be going through a big curriculum change in the next year. One of changes in the curriculum is the addition of center exploration courses. These courses will be interdisciplinary which means it will be a good way for the departments to work together.
“We will be working on them to debut next year,” she said.
To learn more about the curriculum change read A changing curriculum